SWLAW Blog | Future Students

2023 PILC Grant Recipients Government Part 3 collage featuring headshots of Daniel Golub, Ester Mendez, Karla Munoz, and Hugo Stern

October 6, 2023

Meet our 2023 PILC Grant Recipients Working in Government – Part Three

Southwestern's Public Interest Law Committee (PILC) is a student-run organization that sponsors several events each year to raise student awareness and involvement in providing legal services for underrepresented communities and is dedicated to facilitating public interest law careers by supporting students in public interest work through fundraising efforts for the school's Public Interest Law Summer Grant Program.

We want to recognize these students and their incredible work with their Public Interest Law Committee Summer Grant. Meet our third group of 2023 PILC Grant recipients working in Government:

Daniel Golub Summer Clerk For: Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office

Daniel Golub

Summer Placement: Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office

I am passionate about public interest work because the legitimacy of the legal system is dependent upon faithful execution of the societal mandate to pursue and obtain just outcomes. Working in public interest allows me to fight for just outcomes for individuals who would otherwise be deprived of their most fundamental rights and given no opportunity to determine the merits of their claims. This work gives me an opportunity to use the law as a force for good that can make a real difference in people’s lives. I plan to center my career entirely around public interest and public service work, either through indigent criminal defense or civil litigation on behalf of clients who are indigent or have experienced violations of their civil, employment, or housing rights.

Ester Mendez Summer Clerk for: Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office

Ester Mendez

Summer Placement: Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office

To me, public service is not just a career choice but a profound commitment to making a difference in the lives of those around me and repaying the support I received from my community by paying it forward.

One of the most rewarding experiences at the Los Angeles Public Defender’s Office is having the opportunity to interview and provide social services to clients. Drawing from my own background, I found a unique, empathetic connection with clients’ struggles. Clients expressed their gratitude for our conversations, and it was humbling and fulfilling to hear from clients that I was able to make them feel heard, understood, and respected as equals.

Karla Munoz Summer Clerk for: Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office

Karla Munoz

Summer Placement: Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office

The world is a very unfair place for less resourceful people, and if my passion in public service work is going to earn someone their freedom or give them an ounce of hope, I will happily fight alongside them.

My plan is to become a Public Defender after law school. I believe there is a lot of work that still needs to be done for people who are trapped in the criminal legal system. Although there are many angles to approach this type of advocacy, my starting point is this office and these clients. I hope to grow professionally and personally, but most of all, I hope to make a change in these client’s lives with my own knowledge, skills, and zealous advocacy.

Hugo Stern Summer Clerk for: Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office

Hugo Stern

Summer Placement: Los Angeles County Public Defender's Office

My highlight was successfully getting a Serna motion that I wrote granted and telling my client that his case was dismissed.

I never thought I’d be a lawyer or any kind of white-collar worker. Any interests I had growing up were either in the arts or illegal. But when I was a psychology major in college, I thought about being a social worker for people who’ve had traumatic lives. In many ways, a public defender is a social worker who can also fight for our clients’ behalf in the courtroom, and that is what I plan to do with my life.

About the PILC Summer Grant Program

Southwestern's PILC Summer Grant program was established in 1990 with the mission of providing financial support to selected recipients seeking full-time summer clerkships with legal services organizations providing no-cost assistance to underserved, marginalized communities. This program makes it possible for students to acquire the legal training and education necessary to address the lack of access to legal services for indigent communities while also alleviating Southwestern students' financial burden of acquiring more educational loans in order to do so.

PILC sincerely thanks our donors and supporters for your invaluable contributions to this program benefiting Southwestern students. PILC's mission is to help create a community where Southwestern students, staff, faculty, and alumni are educated and incentivized to participate in issues concerning and advancing the public interest, and it is your support of this mission that is vital in helping us reach our fundraising goals each year. 

The student deadline to apply to the 2024 PILC Summer Grant Program is March 4, 2024. Awards up to $5,000. Email publicservice@swlaw.edu for more information.